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High-Precision Grinding Plays Key Role in Shop's Evolution



When Eva-Lution needed to expand its high-precision grinding capabilities, the shop added automated WALTER tool grinders from UNITED GRINDING.

(l-r) Brent Weisenauer, Grinding Specialist; Mike Pahl President/Owner; Terry Ross, Sales Manager, Eva-Lution

For machining bone drills, reamers, screws and other surgical implements for the medical industry, Eva-Lution uses a 5-axis WALTER HELITRONIC ESSENTIAL CNC tool grinder, two WALTER HELITRONIC VISION tool grinders and a WALTER HELICHECK measuring system.

The extremely sharp cutting edges needed on certain surgical tools, especially those made from stainless steel, require high-precision grinding.

"The high-precision grinders are particularly advantageous when it comes to the extremely sharp cutting edges needed on certain surgical tools, especially those made from stainless steel," said Brent Weisenauer, Operations Manager at Eva-Lution. "The material is more flexible than those typically used for metalworking cutting tools, and it is gummier and more prone to burring and burning. The WALTER grinders - with the right wheel running at optimal speeds and feedrates - overcome these challenges."

Eva-Lution, previously known as C&K Tool, offered an overly broad part production range for a wide array of industry segments and provided services from milling and turning to wire EDM and precision grinding. The owners evaluated the shop's strategic business model and determined that future success depended on the development of longstanding partnerships with its customers.

Eva-Lution decided to focus on jobs where it could consistently provide high quality products, and thereby build trust with its customers. In order to cost-effectively produce the parts, the shop needed to expand its high-precision grinding capabilities.

"We knew from day one that our focus had to be on high-precision grinding," said Mike Pahl, President of Eva-Lution. Initially, the shop had two grinding machines equipped with flexible robot loading systems. The two easy-to-use grinders produced precise, high quality parts in a single clamping. Eva-Lution recognized the accuracy and efficiency of these machines as keys to its success.

The shop used its two initial grinders, MINI POWER machines from UNITED GRINDING, to increase its production of bone drills, reamers, screws and other surgical implements for the medical industry. With the influx of medical work, Eva-Lution was able to add a 5-axis WALTER HELITRONIC ESSENTIAL CNC tool grinder, two WALTER HELITRONIC VISION tool grinders and, most recently, a WALTER HELICHECK measuring system - all from UNITED GRINDING. The newer grinders were also equipped with automation for lights-out operation to further expand the shop's overall capacity.

Eva-Lution creates a broad range of tool geometries for its customers using HELITRONIC ToolStudio CAD/CAM software. Specialized toolmaking methods in WALTER Window Mode make it easy for the shop to design and execute new tool programs.

"The high-precision grinders are particularly advantageous when it comes to the extremely sharp cutting edges needed on certain surgical tools, especially those made from stainless steel," said Brent Weisenauer, Operations Manager at Eva-Lution. "The material is more flexible than those typically used for metalworking cutting tools, and it is gummier and more prone to burring and burning. The WALTER grinders - with the right wheel running at optimal speeds and feedrates - overcome these challenges and produce a higher quality cutting edge in less time. Our WALTER machines are very user-friendly, rigid and precise."

The HELICHECK contact-free measurement system has been one of the most significant additions to Eva-Lution's lineup of WALTER machines. The HELICHECK uses light cameras to complete fully automated measurement of complex profiles and forms of rotation-symmetrical parts.

The HELICHECK allows Eva-Lution to automate its quality control process and decrease inspection time per part from 15 minutes to three minutes. Now an operator can focus on setting up and running machines instead of stopping to perform time-consuming quality assurance tasks. "The HELICHECK system delivers more accuracy than even the best hand-held measurement device," said Weisenauer.

Advanced software on the HELICHECK allows Eva-Lution to monitor parts and fine tune grinding and machining programs in real time, resulting in higher efficiency and less waste. HELICHECK's Easy Check software stores measuring programs and lets Eva-Lution quickly measure identical parts.

Moving forward, HELICHECK will play an integral role in Eva-Lution's achievement of its business goals, including "dock to stock" capability. With this ability, the shop will send parts to medical companies and have those parts entered directly into stock without inspection and verification by the customer. To meet this target, Eva-Lution must be able to prove it can consistently run high-quality parts. HELICHECK software gives the shop the quality control data it needs, while statistical process control software analyzes that data and provides trend analysis.

WALTER software has also helped Eva-Lution transition to paperless data. High volumes of data generated in part production and quality checking are more accessible and usable in electronic forms. Easy transfer and storage of part production files have increased the shop's appeal because medical companies need those files on hand for their device history records. One day, medical companies may require manufacturers to provide digital quality assurance data, so the shop's proactive approach to data keeps them ahead of the curve.

Eva-Lution's reputation for providing short lead times in the medical industry has been critical to the shop's advancement in that segment, and its customer base has grown. Throughout its growth, the shop continues to partner with customers with whom it can build relationships. For several customers, Eva-Lution keeps stock on hand, so when an order is placed the shop has a head start on production. This practice cuts lead times from six to eight weeks down to just four weeks.

With the additional capital generated by the new customers and the stronger business from long-time partners, Eva-Lution has brought work back in-house that it once outsourced. The shop has acquired equipment for electro polishing, passivation and laser etching. The ability to do more work in-house has helped the company shorten delivery times even further.

"Our strategy is paying off," said Weisenauer. "We are acquiring new equipment. We are hiring new people. We are bringing in processes that we were outsourcing before. We are taking it to the next level."

Eva-Lution's next move is to expand its range of surgical tools to include hip broaches. The shop will use its WALTER grinders and software to turn out high quality hip rasps.

With all of the changes the shop had undergone under the C&K Tool name, one of its employees commented that the shop had evolved into a completely different business. The owners took that idea and came up with the shop's Eva-Lution name.

For more information contact:

Terry Ross, Sales Manager

Eva-Lution

240 Growth Pkwy.

Angola, IN 46703

260-624-3123

terry@eva-lution.net

www.eva-lution.net

UNITED GRINDING North America, Inc.

510 Earl Blvd.

Miamisburg, OH 45342

937-859-1975

info@grinding.com

www.grinding.com

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